No one has had an offseason quite like Dax McCarty. The midfielder received a call-up to the U.S. Men’s National Team January camp, got married and was unexpectedly traded by the New York Red Bulls to the Chicago Fire on Monday.
The whirlwind weekend, one which started with getting married and ended with his first training session in California with the USMNT, is something McCarty is still adjusting to. On top of that, he’s still in shock about the trade that caught many across MLS off guard.
“It’s been a crazy 24 hours,” McCarty told U.S. Soccer. “A lot has happened. Still digesting it. It came as a big surprise. The good thing is I’m out here with the national team. I get a chance to be back out on the field and try and get a good session in with the guys.”
The trade is still hitting McCarty’s now-former teammates at the Red Bulls hard as well. Forward Bradley Wright-Phillips spoke to the media about it on Tuesday during the MLS round table session.
“He’ll definitely be hard to replace,” Wright-Phillips said according to Goal USA. “He’s a lot more than a good football player to our team. There’s time in the season where it was hard, and it was getting tougher, and Dax would get us out of those situations.
“It’s tough. He’s a great player and a great man, and is just amazing in the dressing room,” he added. “He’s a born captain. There’s not many players that are supposed to be captains, but Dax is one of them.”
As for McCarty’s current focus, he is looking forward to earning some playing time against Serbia and Jamaica in the friendlies to conclude the January camp experience. McCarty will have to stand out in a crowded midfield where all of the starting spots appear up for grabs.
“It’s a great group, a lot of MLS guys, a lot of familiar faces,” McCarty said. “You could tell after my first session the energy is good. A lot of optimism. A lot of guys fighting for spots and I think it’s going to be a great camp.”
The Red Bulls are also moving forward in midfield, with Sean Davis expected to fill McCarty’s starting role. Wright-Phillips believes Davis is someone who could not only replace McCarty in the middle of the park, but as captain someday as well.
“Sean Davis is one of the best youngsters I’ve been around,” Wright-Phillips said. “He’s got an old head on his shoulders and he’s a very good player. It’s obviously going to take him a while to reach those heights, but I do think he has the mentality and the ability to be a Red Bulls captain. I’ve said this, he’s captain material and a very good player.”